Every year during the Friday, Saturday, Sunday of the third week of March, the first `horse day` is celebrated by a festival in Izushi castle town. A `horse day` refers to the first day of the year of the horse in the Chinese zodiac calender. The festival dates back to the Edo period when there was a strict social ranking system, with the lord of Izushi Castle at the top. Normal civilians were not allowed inside the grounds of Izushi castle, except for one day of the year- the first horse day. On this day, thousands of people would flock to Izushi in order to pray at the Arikoyama Inari shrine inside the castle grounds.
These days, the festival prays for prosperity and a rich harvest. It is also said that the first horse day means the arrival of spring, and no more snow. This years` horse day festival will be held the 18th-20th March. There will be over 300 food stalls and lots of fun events!